Monday, November 29, 2010

The Boys Were Back in Town

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
~Jane Howard

That is a very true statement and this is a very quiet night. Too quiet really, the kind of quiet that makes you want to throw up...if quiet can do that. I dropped the last of 'the boys' whom would be my lil bro Joshie, off at the runway today and he promptly flew away back to Anchorage leaving me eerily wondering if anyone had ever been here at all. You know the worst thing about company up here is that they inevitably leave and the void is deafening. Makes me sorta sick to my stomach today missing them or maybe I have a touch of that flu that has been swarming around... at any rate you'll be happy to know I was much braver than the last time earlier this fall. If you recall I spent the whole day sniffling then. Of course it may be due to the fact that today I had to work there was no time to contemplate the impending doom of his leaving and they all 3 didn't leave at the same was staggered. But I'll tell you what their company all week was a blessing. Quyana guys for coming up to our neck of the tundra again. The very fact that the boys did come back again and Mike for a third time, says a lot about this place called Quinhagak and the beautiful Yupik people who inhabit it. It's why I'm here after all, it's why I can stay in this place so far away from my own family and things familiar. It's the welcomed stopping in at Fannie's after church, knowing invading John Teddy's for some music anytime is fine, it's an invitation to steam and laughing with Karen and family, coffee with Jerilyn, a jog down the beach with friends, it's the kids chirping out a greeting wherever you run into's knowing people and being known that makes me feel like this place is home. That is the secret out here on the edge of nowhere, warm hearts-real people. It's the knock, knock, knock on my door of Bobby and Carrie just now at this very minute...
"Can we visit?" their rosy cheeks smile at me hopefully.
"I thought you'd never ask." I breathe a sigh of relief, my company is back.

Attention All Quin Kids!!!

They wasted no time tracking Mike down the minute he stepped off the plane. So the rumors were true "Mike is back!!" News spread faster than salmon swimming out to sea! The bond he has with these kids is inspiring. He's been here 3 times and is somewhat of a legend amid those 12 years of age and under. I have learned that my house will be abuzz the entire time Mike is 'in village' and have embraced it. By the time I get home more than 20 kids have made 3 batches of brownies,drunk several pitchers of juice, put together and taken apart miscellaneous puzzles, coloring books, tea sets you name it and are trying out their latest 'substitute' for the word please which I believe was 'hippopotamus' this time. They are dressed in every costume they can dig up including my winter apparel. And this round Mike had an accomplice, Chris, who elected to be the group jungle gym continually piggy backing one child after another around while dragging the next two in line on each arm. I sneaked through the door (actually I think I had to knock, ahem "Can I visit?") only to behold this gloriously exhilarating chaos. This is it! The moment each child has been anticipating and asking me about since Mike's last appearance back in March "When will Mike visit?" As a matter of fact I think that was the first question posed to me, upon my own return in August. Not 'welcome back Rachel' but "When will Mike visit?" LOL! I imagine myself kind of like the Mom character in "The Cat In The Hat" book. Quick let's tear everything apart before Rachel gets home and tells us "No." It all works out they eventually clean up and trudge out the door longingly looking over their shoulders at us with puppy dog eyes..."Can we visit tomorrow?"

Bopsy Twins Triplets

Josh and Chris waltzed into the school Thanksgiving Feast in their self proclaimed 'standard issued' attire-matching. Yup, it's not just for 2nd graders anymore. Matching outfits are fair game for 30 year old men who view themselves as tundra grade Indiana Joneses! Even Mike joined the uniform albeit inadvertently...all 3 of them strutting around the gymnasium turned cafeteria in duck brown carhartts and army green flannels as if it wasn't a tad bit odd even for the edge of nowhere. Chris brought me one of my very own... though I couldn't bring myself to wear it while they were sporting theirs, thoughtful as it was...I mean I had to live here after they left ;) I'm kidding Chris, quyana I love the shirt...seems to me there has always been something about army green flannels in my life...

Fannie's Smorgasbord
A trip to this side of the Arolik River simply wouldn't be complete without a pop into the Simon residence. It's like going home as I've already alluded to. Fannie's granddaughter is in love with Josh. She calls him Uncle 'Gus' or 'My Gus' short for Gussack (white person in Yupik) it is an endearing term. She hugs him and cries when he leaves. He wouldn't want me to reveal his ultra sensitive side but he loves her too. He had to be sure he stopped to give her the birthday present he brought her from Anchorage after Chris informed him it would be her 3rd bday while they were here. I didn't even know that, Chris got the down low when he spent the day with Fannie while I was at school. While we were there Fannie busted out all her local cuisine: dried white fish, northern, coho, sockeye, seal and caribou. You could say we had an impromptu dried meat tasting. Coho was decidedly the the tastiest, sockeye a close second, then seal...caribou we think is better as a roast or in stew;) Washed it all down with a hefty helping of salmonberry and blackberry akutak (eskimo ice cream). She sent Josh off with a bag of died fish and lamented that she didn't get to see Chris before he left. She decided it was better then she wouldn't have to cry so much. LOL. I agreed. We stopped in at John's so Josh could say hi and bye quick after church last night. John had been looking forward to taking the boys upriver to have at some last minute fishing. Unfortunately with our stranded in Eek episode it didn't work out.

Traci's Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving in Eek was wonderful. Traci, Erin and Dirk took us in like family. Heather opened her apartment to us to use which was wonderful since we were a small herd. It was a feast to be sure complete with all the staples; everything from turkey and stuffing to sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole! We even brought a pumpkin pie that we made here in Quin...that's another story, it was taking forever to bake and I fell asleep while it was still in the oven. Luckily Chris stayed alert for the duration, saved it from being pumpkin crisp and the house from burning down. Anyway back to the Eek was delicious!

Trivial Pursuits And Live Music-Entertainment Eek Style
Every night well.... except the night after Traci tore her calf muscle during an intense game of volleyball 3 on 3 I think that was Saturday night which we were successfully losing; we played Trivial Pursuit and listened to Traci and Dirk strum away on the guitar and ukulele while they sang all kinds of songs.
Reminded me of nights back in Hayward at Madeline's Open Mic Night. Traci actually has a CD out so we pretty much had our own private concert. They are pretty serious about their board games over in Eek. I've never been much of a board game player myself but as they say while in as the Eekers do. Eventually Josh and I ended up on a team all by ourselves out there on display demonstrating for God and everyone our profound lack of trivial knowledge and the pursuit of it. Josh painfully mumbled to himself about midway through," I just don't have room in my brain for all this trivial stuff." I giggled answering, "We don't know," for the 4th time to a question neither one of us understood. We did end up getting 4 pies mostly based on charity;) We watched lots of movies, pigged out on leftovers, wore pjs all day while drinking multiple pots of coffee and strolled around the tundra. Quyana to our fabulous hosts over Eek way! Your gracious hospitality is most appreciated!

Your Location Could Not Be Determined...

Not even Dirk's google earth search could find our position in Eek, Alaska. The above title was what was given in return.

Caribou Dreams-Shattered

The boys (Josh and Chris) really, really wanted go hunting for caribou...and they were determined to take me with them, it's the thought that counts. Sadly the lack of snow and consequent sequestering in Eek prevented any of that from even coming close to happening. O well. Better luck next time;)

Peter (Brett) and the Wolf

Quite possibly the most exciting event that happened in Eek was the Great Wolf Hunt of 2010 that unfolded right before our very eyes. The wolf like creature loped back and forth out by the dump; then it would saunter in toward the dog lot (Principal Brett has a team in Eek too) only to dart off back toward the dump again preventing any clear shots as Principal Brett put it in his cross hairs. Was it a wolf or a wild dog? Whatever the mysterious canine was, it obviously wanted to get close to the sled dogs. Principal Brett was having none of it. Even enlisting a few locals to assist. Together they had it surrounded and we had front row seats peering out the 2nd story windows our noses all squished against the glass "Lemme see, hey move, watch out". We spied with binoculars and gun scopes to get a better view. The boys of course really wanted a piece of the action but alas it was not their hunt, it was not their hunt. They settled to play second fiddle from Heather's picture window vicariously living through Johnny Hawk and Brett as they chased the wolf dog to and fro. In the end we didn't know who won the wolf dog or the hunters. Shots were fired and it disappeared into the tundra while the hunters retreated to their houses. Either way it was a few good hours of entertainment and imagination!

Shout Out To:'s been fun, Adios!

"This is the family tree of the human race.
When God created the human race, he made it godlike,
with a nature akin to God."
Genesis 5:1

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